AMITIAE - Thursday 19 September 2013

iOS 7 Update - 50/50 Success - iPhone 1: iPad 0

apple and chopsticks


By Graham K. Rogers

I seem normally to be blessed when it comes to updates. OS X has never let me down since 10.2 Jaguar; and iOS, too: these have sailed down the pipes and onto the various devices with hardly a blink. Until today's mixed bag.

I had been checking for the iOS 7 update all Wednesday evening here, just in case Tim Cook pressed the button early, but in the end had to admit that the midnight time was real, so I went to bed.

I had prepared the devices with backups and restarts, to make sure they were in the optimum condition for when the download appeared, including deletion of a number of apps on the iPhone as there was a posting on Twitter that we would need at least 2 GB. When I woke up, the new version of iOS was ready to roll, but now showed that 3.1 GB was needed. Breakfast came first.

Before I started culling apps on the iPhone, I set the ball rolling on the iPad which had plenty of room, and waited for that to complete. In the meantime, I examined the apps on the iPhone, decided which I could run without for a day, and began to delete. As I took each one off the list in iTunes, I wrote the name down so that I could reinstall later. Bit by bit the space increased but I pushed it over the 3.1 GB requirement by losing GarageBand. I do not use that much, and could easily reinstall. Once I had the space, I was allowed to install iOS 7 on the iPhone.

In the meantime, the iPad was almost done and when it restarted there were a series of Welcome screens. I began the setup process. As with any new device or OS from Apple nowadays, users are urged to join iCloud. As I use this every day, it was simply a question of logging in. However, after a few minutes, I was asked to agree to updated iCloud Terms and Conditions: nothing unusual there; but being warned "Unable to Connect to Server" was new.


I tried several times, noting that the iCloud settings were now greyed out. While the iPhone is the device I have with me constantly, it would be nice for the iPad to work properly too; but nothing I did including deleting the iCloud account and trying to set it up again would change the result: "Unable to Connect to Server".

The iPhone finished its installation of the updated software and I was also asked to sign in to iCloud on that device. Not a hint of a problem. A student had also updated his iPad and on Facebook he told me that iCloud was fine for him. I presumed that the problem was most likely with my iPad or with network cache settings. That would wait. I had broken a tooth and was off to the dentist.

During the day, I had a look at the new installation. Like many, I had seen demonstrations by Craig Federighi at WWDC in June and again when the iPhones were announced recently. I was familiar with what it looked like, but not how it felt.

I have seen screenshots of the minimalist approach that is also being developed for the next version of OS X (Mavericks) but making the touch screens work is not the same. Early morning comments from some users online suggested that they were not happy and wanted iOS 6 back.

I was reminded of the arrival of Windows, version 3. Up to that time, the office staff where I work had been happy using two programs for writing in Thai: Word Chula and Rajavitthi Word. They were against the idea of switching to Microsoft Office (and Word). I suggested to the man responsible that we were both aware how easy these were to use in a real situation, so he should force the switch - change the computers overnight - in two weeks there would be no complaints. This is what was done and within a short time, the office staff were happily working in Word and no one now really remembers those Thai programs.

As I began to work in the new interface, hunting things down, checking the settings, the early morning difficulties began to evaporate. I did not feel wholly competent but was certainly more comfortable.

iOS7 iOS7

I did find a couple of things I was not happy with, such as the folders. In iOS 6 these were black, but are now grey: too bland for me. I think too that - nice as the new Passcode page is - the characters are so large that it would be easy for someone to spot the numbers. With the old system, this was less easy.

Even while I was out, updates to apps were appearing, and by the time I left the dentist's chair (not as bad as I had feared) there were another 15 apps for download. With the iPhone 4S that I have, the battery life is fairly short anyway after a couple of years use, especially as I have everything ON. It did not last the whole day. I look forward to arrival here of the iPhone 5s.

Back at home, with the Wifi restarted, I tried to connect with iCloud on the iPad, but was not successful. I did have a minor success when I used iPhone tethering, but a moment or so later, once more there was the "Unable to Connect to Server" message. Time for sterner measures. I began by trying "Reset all Settings" in the Settings > General > Reset section. It took me a while to track down all the passwords for Wifi connections (there are three here), but the result was the same: "Unable to Connect to Server". Something was more deeply wrong, so I decided to use the backup file from the previous evening.

Passwords are of three types: those that are so easy that my mother can remember them, like abc123 or Graham1234 (I use neither of these); there are also those that are easy to guess if a little thought is applied, especially if whole words are used. I tend to use complex combinations of letters and symbols, but because I use them regularly they are in my memory, but not at all easy to guess. There are also those that are complex, but are not used regularly: unless these are written down (and the paper locked away), they will be forgotten.

The backup files for the iPad are encoded and needed a password for me to use them to restore the iPad. The password is in that last category: complex and not used often. . . .

I took the bull by the horns and in Reset, selected "Erase all Contents and Settings". This was not a total wipe as when the iPad restarted, iOS 7 was ready for use. In iTunes, I selected to set the iPad up as a new device and began by entering details of one of the Wifi networks.

This time, I did manage to sign in to iCloud, but while I was doing this, a message on the iPhone appeared asking me to agree to new Terms and Conditions. I must admit to a flash of anger when I saw the panel, "Unable to Connect to Server". However, the device did continue to sync data (I ran a couple of quick tests - Calendar, Photostream), and also updated payment details as this was due in a week or so, and an older credit card is shown. Maybe it was all an unsubtle hint to make sure Apple had my $40.

On the iPad, the setup process was done and I began to install apps. The redesign of the iTunes page for this is not at all to my liking. Before it was easy to scroll through the pages and move apps about, but moving apps between pages needs the page to be central (and large), then the app can be slid downwards (or up), to a page that is not initially visible. Only by using the slider and making pages the minimum size is it then easier to slide the apps across from page to page.


When I had made a fair selection of the apps I wanted, I pressed Apply and the apps were transferred to the iPad. I will add some more and reorganise in the next day or two. Music transfer was straightforward. As there is plenty of space on the iPad (64 GB) I clicked on All. The job was done fairly quickly.

Next I went through the videos, podcasts and books. These are relatively small, particularly as services for some of these are limited in Thailand. I left photos to last as this is a fairly large collection and I want to take time to readjust what is transfered to the iPad.

I think in the end I won; but I am not totally sure.

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs.



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